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Friday, March 13, 2015

A little "mind control", please

As we have been looking at the differences between the wise, simple, and foolish, we will continue today down the path of observing some of the character traits of the wise.  One of the most profound things I believe we begin to possess when we move from just having knowledge about something into a place of actually using that knowledge is this whole idea of developing a little better judgment.  Judgment is a really tricky thing - for some it comes in the form of some awful mistake-ridden steps; for others it may seem like a walk in the park. I don't know which end of the scale you might find yourself on at the moment, but I can confess to the fact of walking at both ends of the scale at one point or another!  It is kind of like watching an speedometer on your car's dashboard - it goes up and down - depending on what you are doing with your foot on the accelerator.  If you depress the gas pedal with your foot, the speedometer goes up and the car speeds forward, but take off the pressure and it will again return to the slower pace.  The same is true in our lives.  We all know how fast things can get out of control in our lives when the pressure is great, but just a little relief from that pressure can bring us back down to a manageable pace.  One end of the spectrum has us spinning our wheels and running insanely out of control.  The other has us plugging along at an even pace, but not so crazy we are going to crash out of control. Wisdom is like having a "governor" on your mind's accelerator!  A governor on the accelerator acts as a device to maintain uniform speed regardless of load changes.  That is technical speak for the idea of something acting as a force to keep us from exceeding safe ranges with our speed!  Wisdom acts as guide for our thoughts, emotions, and eventually our actions - keeping us from responding to "load changes".  The simpleton never installed the governor.  The fool has learned to bypass it!  The wise value the presence of the governor because they see it as a means of maintaining safety in all they do.

Wisdom will control your mind, and you will be pleased with knowledge. Sound judgment and good sense will watch over you. Wisdom will protect you from evil schemes and from those liars who turned from doing good to live in the darkness. Most of all they enjoy being mean and deceitful. They are dishonest themselves, and all they do is crooked. (Proverbs 2:10-15 CEV)

"Mind control" is often equated with some form of "mystic" practice in which someone "gets inside your mind" and controls your thoughts.  Through suggestion they can make you do certain things.  Well let me shed a little light on this matter - your mind is controlled by whoever or whatever you allow to act as a governor over it.  If you submit your thoughts to the control of another, such as the leader of a gang, you might just find your actions becoming more and more deviant.  Why?  The desire of the gang leader is to have followers (little minions to do his or her bidding).  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be anybody's minion!  There are times when we think it won't hurt to turn our attention over to another, but when we get a little further into the relationship, we find ourselves spinning out of control.  It is like the load is applied and we cannot manage to bring the vehicle of our lives back into control because it is so wildly out of control.  When we ask for the Holy Spirit to become the governor over our thoughts (and ultimately our actions), we are asking God to provide us with a reliable source of "mind control".  

I think this is the real purpose behind Solomon sharing the truths about the wise and the comparison of the actions of both the wise and the foolish.  The more we learn about how this "governor" works in our lives, the more we will embrace the idea of having one it.  The wisdom that comes from above is not just there by accident, or through osmosis.  We don't just soak it in and "poof" we are changed by it.  Wisdom is application - like the governor engaging to prohibit too much gas to get to the engine, resulting in the engine speeding up and the car flying wildly out of control.  Wisdom exerts an "opposing pressure" to that of the mindless things we might want to engage in because we didn't think them through very well. When we "push down on the accelerator" to respond to certain stimuli, we find the Holy Spirit acting as a "governor" to prohibit the response to the "increased load".  Much of life is learning to balance the load - not just living by the seat of our pants.

Part of the purpose of the Holy Spirit "governor" in our lives is this idea of sound judgment and good sense.  Heaven knows full well how messed up my own judgment can get when it is allowed to run freely without any control!  I tend to see things from "MY" perspective - forgetting there are others in the mix who I need to be concerned about. I lean into things with gusto, not counting the ultimate cost of those commitments, causing myself to become over-extended and exhausted.  I journey into places I have no business being.  I lose restraint and find myself doing things I really should not be doing.  If we want to live beyond this kind of "lack of control" we need something which places "control" back into our lives. Hence, we need the wisdom which comes from above and the only connection we truthfully have with this wisdom is the Spirit of God resident within us.  Do you know why big businesses who rent trucks like Ryder and U-Haul put governors in their panel trucks?  Most of us aren't used to driving larger vehicles AND we have no clue what that increased load does to the vehicle when it comes to stopping it!  The governor is there to keep us from escalating the speed of the burden laden vehicle to dangerous speeds because we cannot rightly judge how much stopping distance we need, or what the increased load of a downward grade will produce as we try to get control of the vehicle.

I don't think our lives equate to moving trucks, but I hope you can see the illustration. We don't always have the right kind of judgment in our lives - so we need good judgment to be built-into our lives by a means which is reliable and consistent.  As we read the Word of God, studying it more and more, we learn truths which are all good.  Those good truths don't have much affect over us until we allow them to be applied.  The Holy Spirit is the one to assist with this application - as a governor over our thoughts, a guide over our responses, and a coach for us when we don't know what steps to take next.  Just sayin!